Alumni Spotlights

January 15, 2020

Advocate for agricultural education

Kimberly Barkman (BS '07, agricultural education) serves as the first agricultural education program manager at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. She works as a liaison between the ISDA and the Indiana Department of Education and schools with agriculture programs. Before joining the department she taught agricultural education at Triton Central High School in Shelby County and in Beech Grove City Schools. “I’m excited to be a voice and advocate for agricultural education in Indiana,” Barkman says. 

A winning idea wins an Emmy

Megan Benage (BS '05 wildlife management, MS '07 forestry), regional ecologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, was honored for her role in an episode of the PBS show Prairie Sportsman, which won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “Pollinator Friendly Solar” detailed the work Benage and her colleagues have done to require commercial solar projects in Minnesota to include native grasses and wildflowers instead of turf grass, creating a habitat for bees and other wildlife. You can check out her other prairie conservation work on her podcast at Prairie Pod.

Bringing animal sciences to the House Ag and Science Committees

Congressman Jim Baird joined the U.S. House of Representatives serving Indiana’s 4th District in 2019, so you’ve probably read his name in the news. What you might not know is that in addition to being a Vietnam War veteran and a farmer, he brings a PhD in science to the House committees on Agriculture and Science, Space, and Technology. While he earned his PhD from the University of Kentucky, he earned his bachelor’s (’67) and master’s (’69) degrees in animal sciences in the College of Agriculture. “I think I understand science,” Baird told Science Insider. “I’ve done research. I’m also used to looking at the raw data, analyzing it and leaving out my biases.”

Take that fork in the road

Dr. Mary Beth Adams (BS '80, MS '82, forestry and natural resources) delivered the commencement address at West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design in May 2019. A research soil scientist with the USDA Forest Service, she works to sustain forest productivity by examining how water and nutrients move through forest ecosystems in response to stressors. Borrowing the words of legendary baseball player Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”, she reminded the Class of 2019 not to retreat in the face of uncertainty but to keep moving and to bring someone along with them as they “take that fork in the road.” 

Category Alumni, Winter 2020

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